Former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier was introduced as the Buccaneers defensive coordinator on Thursday, but the press conference at one point turned to Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman, who started the season in Tampa Bay.
Frazier again repeated Freeman worked hard in practice and was a pro after the Vikings brought him in during the season. But he also added that Freeman didn’t end up in a fair situation with organization analyzing quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel as a season-long solution at the position.
“Josh got caught up in the shuffle of that,” Frazier said. “It probably wasn’t a fair situation for him. It made it difficult for him, and it made it difficult for all of us. We were trying to evaluate quarterbacks during an NFL season. That’s not a wise thing.”
Freeman signed with the Vikings on Oct. 6 and started in his only game on Oct. 21 against the Giants last season. He went 20 of 53 for 190 yards and an interception.
“I’m not even going to talk about that anymore,” Freeman told the Star Tribune on Thursday about Frazier’s comments. “That’s old news. The only thing talking about that can do is rub somebody the wrong way. It is what it is. It’s over.
“It was definitely a great experience. Coming out of a situation I was in, stuff still got a lot better. I got better as a player. I had the opportunity to learn from some great coaches. Coach Frazier, even how rough the season was, he handled it with grace. He taught me a lot about football and also about being a man and handling adversity.”
Frazier still believes Freeman, 26, can develop into a solid starting quarterback in the NFL given some of what he was able to accomplish in Tampa Bay. Freeman will be a free agent yet again this offseason.
“You want to give yourself the best opportunity to go out and play the best brand of football you can,” Freeman said. “I think every season, every move is big for you. Just trying to maximize that, but it’ll be fun. I’m excited about another opportunity no matter where I end up to help contribute to the team win.”